How To Smoke Salmon On A Grill: A Grilling Guide
People love salmon because it’s packed with healthy benefits. It’s a rich source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and other important nutrients. In addition to these benefits, smoked salmon also tastes amazing and is a quick and easy dish to make. If you have access to fresh local salmon, this recipe is perfect for you. However, if you can only find frozen or canned salmon, it will still be good but not as flavorful as fresh fish. This guide will show you how to smoke salmon on a grill and what types of wood chips are best for the process. You’ll also learn some tips on which preparation methods work best, the ideal grilling temperature, and the best serving suggestions after smoking your fish.
How To Smoke Salmon On A Grill
1. Clean The Fish
First, wash your salmon. You can buy a whole one and cut it into pieces yourself or you can buy it already cut. If you want to cut it yourself, make sure you ask the fishmonger to do this for you. To clean your salmon, hold it by the tail and run it under cold water to remove any dirt or debris. Place the fish on a clean cutting board and run under cold water again until all of the water runs clear. Pat dry with kitchen paper towels and place in a shallow container. Next, place your salmon in a bowl of lemon juice or vinegar to stop any discoloration that may occur during smoking.
2. Season The Salmon
You’ll need salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and ground black pepper for this recipe. Mix all of these ingredients together in a small bowl until well combined and store them in an airtight container for later use (you can also store them inside your fish container).
3. Prepare The Smoker
If you have a smoker, you can use it for this recipe. If not, you’ll need to build your own smoker using wood chips. You can use any wood chips that you prefer. Some people like to use apple or cherry wood chips, but I prefer to use hickory or mesquite because they are more traditional and taste better than other types of wood. If you don’t have a smoker, you can also build your own using foil and newspaper. Start by placing a layer of aluminum foil on the bottom of an oven-safe dish or pan that is large enough to hold all of the fish pieces (at least 8×8 inches). Next, place 1 layer of newspaper on top of the aluminum foil and place another layer of aluminum foil on top of the newspaper. Finally, place your fish pieces in the middle of the aluminum foil packet and pour in 3 cups (1/2 quart) water.
4. Prepare The Fish For Grilling
Pat the fish dry with paper towels and season both sides of the salmon pieces with the prepared seasoning. Place on a clean, flat surface and cover with plastic wrap. Place in your refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour until you are ready to cook.
5. Prepare Your Grill Or Smoker (If Needed)
If you have a smoker, follow your manufacturer’s instructions to build it up and fill it with wood chips (you can use apple or cherry wood chips, but I prefer using hickory or mesquite). If you don’t have a smoker, then you can build your own using foil and newspaper as described above. You can also use an electric grill that has been preheated to prepare this recipe if you do not have access to a smoker or if you don’t have time to construct one. If using an electric grill, make sure that it is preheated and that it is completely dry before you start to smoke the fish.
6. Add Water To Your Smoker Or Grill Pan
Add enough water (at least 1/2 quart) to your smoker or grill pan to cover the fish pieces completely. If using a charcoal smoker, add wood chips and light them using a lighter. If using an electric grill, make sure that it is preheated and that it is completely dry before you start to smoke the fish. If you do not have a smoker or an electric grill, then use a small saucepan with enough water to cover all of your fish pieces (about 3/4 cup).
7. Smoke Salmon For 20-30 Minutes
Place your salmon pieces on top of the aluminum foil packet in the middle of your smoker or grill pan containing 1 cup water and place another layer of aluminum foil on top of the salmon pieces. If using a charcoal smoker, place the fish pieces on top of the charcoal and close the lid. If using an electric grill, make sure that it is preheated and that it is completely dry before you start to smoke the fish.
8. Add Additional Water To Smoke If Necessary
If you do not have enough water in your smoker or grill pan, add more water during this step. You want to keep your salmon pieces submerged in water while they are smoking so they don’t dry out while cooking. The amount of water you add will depend on how many wood chips you are using and how hot your smoker or grill pan is (the hotter your smoker or grill pan gets, the more water you will need to use).
9. Cook Until Done (About 15-20 Minutes)
After 20 minutes, check your smoker or grill pan to see if all of the liquid has evaporated and your salmon pieces are fully cooked. If they are not done, continue cooking until they are fully cooked.
Which Wood Chips Should You Use?
1. Smoking On A Charcoal Grill
If you have access to a charcoal grill, you should use hickory wood chips. This type of wood has a smokey flavor and will give your salmon the perfect smoky flavor. To make sure that the wood doesn’t burn before being used, soak them in water for 15 minutes before grilling.
2. Smoking On A Gas Grill
For smoking salmon on your gas grill, use applewood chips or pecan wood chips. These types of wood provide a subtle flavor and are great for grilling delicate fish like salmon without overpowering it with too much smoke. When using these types of chips, be sure to soak them in water for 15 minutes before grilling so that they won’t burn before being used.
3. Smoking On An Electric Grill
For smoking salmon on an electric grill, you should use hickory or mesquite wood chips or chunks soaked in water for 15 minutes beforehand; this will stop them from burning before you’re ready to use them.
Tips For Smoking Salmon
- Make sure you buy salmon that is fresh and not frozen.
- Avoid using salmon that has been previously frozen and thawed because it may have freezer burn, which will ruin the taste of the fish.
- The fresher the salmon, the better it tastes. It’s best to be able to smell the freshness of your fish before buying it in a store to ensure its quality and freshness. If you can’t smell any scent at all, don’t buy it!
- When purchasing your salmon, look for a nice firm texture with no signs of decay or discoloration on the flesh or bones.
- The best way to cook your salmon is on a grill over high heat using direct heat (direct grilling). This method will allow you to get a nice crispy skin with little oil required on your grill and minimal smoke production from wood chips. You can also use indirect heat (indirect grilling) with this recipe, but you will need to use a smoker box to cook your salmon.
- Make sure your grill is clean and oiled before using it for the first time. Read the manufacturer’s instructions on how to clean and oil your grill before using it for the first time. Once you have done this, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to oil and clean your grill after each use.
- Do not soak wood chips in water prior to placing them on the grill or when smoking salmon. Water-soaked wood chips will burn out quickly during cooking and create smoke that is too hot for salmon to handle. You can always add water-soaked wood chips after cooking if you would like extra smoke flavor if desired, but it should not be necessary in most cases since they are so easy to light with standard lighter fluid (butane).
Smoking salmon is a process that takes time, so it’s best to smoke salmon at the beginning of barbecue season when the weather is still cool. You can cold-smoke salmon or hot-smoke salmon at a low temperature. Smoked salmon can be served hot, cold, or at room temperature, and it tastes great with a piece of bread or cracker. It’s also a rich source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, which makes it a perfect snack or appetizer. Smoked salmon is a tasty and healthy way to add a bit of variety to your grilling menu.